Once I discovered there were blooming displays of yellow Aspen in an area east of the Sierra range, I decided I would make this trip and keep coming back. This is one of those come-back trips and it is fascinating to discover that there is always a new adventure and pleasure to be found here. It is a a dusty desert trip to get here but once you enter the Inyo Country line the landscapes changes many times over.
The Aspen designs against Convict Lake reflect a mosaic that expresses a natural pallet of earth and lake. Everywhere I look the leaves dab colorful designs about the landscape like a nature footprint on canvas.
To my surprise, the excitement of color splashes the countryside with graceful nuance. It was more than breathtaking.
The June Loop flourishes with lakes, Aspen groves, streams and fisherman. We pitch our tent at the lush June Lake campground, smack dab in the midst of yellow swirling leaves and a warm summer-like wind breezing through. We break for dinner and try for a sunset shot –which goes no where fast. Some young girl just happens along the way, looks down and gets a great stroke-of-luck shot of a duck swirling in sunset red reflections!
The hills, as they say, are alive —with brilliant yellow!
Later in the evening, walking along the lake in the deep dark of night, admiring the stars above, we find the Big Dipper and Orion’s belt. I look down to see a star-studded sky reflecting in the water, the big dipper all aglow. I don’t think I have ever seen the midnight sky shine so gracefully in the depths of a midnight lake. The world is upside down right here at my feet. Then, after a day of photographing miles of golden beauties, I am left with visions of golden leaves dancing in my head.
Gull Lake was our sunrise shot. Another Aspen campground with a lakeside view. This will be my next camping spot, believe me! The sun rises while the ducks swim, fishermen fish and the ghostly fog creeps in around the lake like an apparition, skimming atop the water ever so slightly as it hugs the trees and rocks. It is a very busy place for 7 in the morning!
Some Aspen look like old timers among the frail arching trunks of the younger generation. As they get older they look as though they see with their deep dark eyes. They seem to look straight at me. Maybe this is why they seem to invite a carving or two with shallow cuts in the white peeling trunks where loved ones are remembered in this special place. These trees seem to hold up to this quite well, though as a naturalist, one might think it is not the most gentle way to treat them.
We wind the day down by finishing the last leg around June Loop and my friend, Charlie, takes time lapse shots — clicking every few minutes as the sun peeks through and the deep morning shadows disappear until the sun rises in full bloom. Moment by moment the Aspen tops glow brighter as the backdrop of a green forest appears as if for the first time.
We break down the tent and head south on Highway 395. Near Bishop we find this lone darling yellow tree. You can’t miss it in Fall, right?
Another thing you can’t miss in California are the unusual moments you will always come upon no matter where you are. While driving past Bishop, a mini wagon train appears in the midst of the traffic of modern city people heading home. We are both delighted to see this small wagon train ahead with horses decorated in full harness gear with a driver and passenger smiling from ear to ear.
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You might want to check out our photo-poetry book if you’re looking for a nice little holiday gift: “While Wandering: A Photo-Poetic Journey Through California Landscapes“.